Blinn Geographic Society to host fifth annual GIS Day

The public is invited to learn about careers and everyday uses of geographic information systems

November 9, 2018

The Blinn College District Geographic Society will celebrate its fifth annual GIS Day Friday, Nov. 16, with presentations and activities designed to showcase geographic information systems (GIS) and how they impact daily life.

The event will be held from 1-4 p.m. in the front lobby of the T Building and T-120 (map), and is free and open to the public.

GIS is a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS analyzes spatial location and organizes layers of information into visualizations using maps and 3D scenes. Researchers, businesses, and government agencies use GIS in crime mapping, road networking, wastewater and stormwater systems, and waste management.

“We often overlook how GIS is used all around us,” said Rhonda Reagan, Geography Professor and Geographic Society advisor. “This is a great opportunity for our community to learn how their city’s public works departments use GIS, and for our students to learn about career opportunities in the field.”

GIS Day provides an international forum for users of GIS technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in society. It also coincides with National Geography Awareness Week, a geographic literacy initiative sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

This is the fifth year Blinn has hosted GIS Day.

Representatives from the Brazos Valley Council of Governments (BVCOG) 9-1-1 Program and Texas A&M, Sam Houston State, and Texas State universities will give 15-minute presentations on the educational and career opportunities available to prospective geography students.

At 1:30 p.m., attendees are invited to participate in the Geographic Society’s geocaching contest, in which teams of two use the GPS on their phones to locate coordinates across campus. The contest is expected to last 30 minutes, and prizes provided by local vendors, including Copy Stop, the Blinn Bookstore, and Little Caesar’s Pizza, await the winning pair.

Individuals participating in the geocaching contest should sign up prior to 1:30 p.m. at the Geographic Society’s table located in the Student Center.

Throughout the event, Blinn alumni who have earned bachelor’s degrees and landed careers in the geography field will be on hand to discuss their work in the industry. Representatives from the City of Bryan, City of College Station, Texas A&M Forest Service, and Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District will answer questions regarding the use of GIS in public works.

Students in Blinn’s new Introduction to Geographic Information Systems course will share with visitors what they have learned and how they can transfer the skills and knowledge they have acquired to various regional universities. Designed to introduce students to the basic principles and techniques of GIS, GEOG 2470 is one of the few courses of its kind to be offered at the community college level.

Behind the Student Center, the public can get a closer look at a mobile command post and police cruiser from the City of Bryan.

The Blinn chapter of the Geographic Society was founded in 2000 and allows Blinn students to supplement their coursework with additional hands-on experience. Advised by Reagan and fellow professor Susan Slowey, Geographic Society students often are invited to present research at conferences and symposiums across the state.

For more information regarding GIS Day or the Geographic Society, contact Reagan at rreagan@blinn.edu.

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